Landlords will use a signed lease agreement to protect their interest when renting a property. However, few tenants fully read and comprehend the details of these agreements before signing on the dotted line.
The clauses you may think are in place to protect you could actually enforce a landlord’s right to legal action.
1. Joint and several liability
Though your name may be on the lease, any tenant also on the lease for the property must comply with the demands of the lease contract. Tenants share responsibility for the actions of each other, potentially giving a landlord more opportunities to address infractions. The actions of a roommate could severely impact your financial responsibility or rental options, even if you were not involved.
2. Lease end terms
Many contracts have year-long terms, and the procedures or requirements outlined in the lease could vary if the situation moves to a month-to-month rental agreement. In particular, the language concerning notice to end the lease can be confusing as can landlord and tenant relationships not following the standard agreements of the lease.
3. Misrepresented responsibilities
Though illegal, landlords often include clauses in a contract that place certain responsibilities on a tenant. These could be finding a new tenant if unable to complete the lease term, paying for damage repairs resulting from a disaster or automatically demanding tenant responsibility for court fees from legal action taken against the tenant.
A lease is a legal contract, and negative action is possible if you fail to uphold your end of the terms. However, you are also guaranteed certain rights and these need protection through a lease as well.